Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig announced today that the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is offering regulatory relief to help first-time pesticide applicators get certified during the 2020 growing season. This comes after the Department and its testing partners canceled several large, in-person testing sessions based on the COVID-19 social distancing guidelines provided by the CDC.
“These are extraordinary times and yet we, in agriculture, have a responsibility to continue the essential functions that provide the feed and fuel to keep us running,” said Secretary Naig. “Thank you, Gov. Reynolds, for working with the Department to provide regulatory relief to our farmers and agribusinesses. Now the Department has the flexibility to offer additional options to pesticide applicators, which is especially important as farmers head into the planting and growing seasons.”
On April 2, Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a Proclamation that temporarily suspends the regulatory provisions in Iowa Codes § 206.5(3), 206.5(4) and 206.6(1) for the duration of the Proclamation and any future extensions.
- First-time commercial pesticide applicators who obtain a private applicator certification can be employed and operate under the instructions and control of a certified commercial applicator.
- Individuals can take the private applicator certification test online during this public health emergency.
- First-time commercial, public or private applicators can apply pesticides under the direct supervision of a certified applicator without an applicator certification.
- Commercial cleaning services can apply disinfectant or sanitizing pesticides indoors where humans live, work, or congregate without a commercial pesticide applicator license.
- A Proclamation signed on March 22 provided regulatory relief to pesticide applicators who were certified through Dec. 31, 2019. These individuals can retain their applicator status and now have until Dec. 31, 2020, to submit the testing or training required to renew their certifications.
Commercial applicators can obtain private applicator certifications
Because of these unprecedented circumstances, individuals seeking to obtain a new commercial pesticide applicator certification may instead obtain a private applicator certification and still be employed as commercial applicators. These individuals must operate under the instructions and control of a certified commercial applicator. The supervising applicator is not required to be physically present. This waiver only applies to agricultural-land applications. It does not include aerial, lawn, turf or pest control applications.
As part of the ongoing efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the Department will temporarily allow individuals to take the private applicator test online for the duration of the State Public Health Emergency. Individuals can sign-up to take the private pesticide applicator test online. After passing the exam, individuals can submit their test results, application and fee to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.
Applicators must complete the commercial applicator testing requirements after the Proclamation expires.
Timeframe extended for uncertified applicators to work under the direct supervision of certified applicators
Under the current law, an uncertified applicator can work under the direct supervision of a certified applicator for 21-days. Direct supervision means the application of a pesticide is made by a competent person acting under the instructions of a certified applicator who is physically present and in sight or hearing distance. The waiver extends this apprenticeship/training program through the duration of the Proclamation and any further extensions. When the Proclamation expires, first-time applicators must meet the testing requirements to obtain their certifications.
Uncertified commercial cleaning businesses can apply disinfectant and sanitizer indoors
This waiver only applies to indoor cleaning and disinfection pesticides applied by commercial cleaning services. It does not include agricultural, aerial, lawn, turf or pest control applications. The suspension of this provision only applies for the duration of this Proclamation and any future extension.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created delays in processing and mailing pesticide applicator cards and certifications. Applicators can view the status of their certifications on the Department’s public search portal.
For more information, contact the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s Pesticide Bureau at [email protected] or 515-281-8591.